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Crime Stats: Decline in Sexual Offences in South Africa

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Minister of Police, General BH Cele speaker notes at the release of the #CrimeStats for the 4th Quarter of 2022/2023:

Crime Stats


In the latest quarterly crime statistics, South Africa has seen a promising decrease in sexual offences. The report, covering the period from 1 October to 31 December 2023, indicated a 1.7% decline in this criminal category, including rape, sexual assault, and contact sexual offences.

Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, presented the findings on Friday, highlighting the impact of intensive police awareness initiatives. “Rape has decreased by 1.7%, with six provinces – Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Northern Cape, and Western Cape – all registering a decline in this crime category,” said Cele.

Furthermore, the strict operations against gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) resulted in 2 400 suspect raids. This led to the arrest of 4 264 individuals on charges related to GBVF, including rape and sexual assault. The courts delivered a robust response, handing down 112 life sentences to 89 rapists, while imposing sentences of 20 or more years on 64 individuals.

The report also outlines the judgements passed on GBVF perpetrators, with 172 receiving sentences between 10 to 19 years and 261 being handed 1 to 9 years imprisonment. According to Cele, these sentences are a testament to the unwavering commitment of the police force in combating these heinous crimes.

The police ministry’s social crime prevention and Family Violence, Child Protection, and Sexual Offences Units (FCS) continue to raise awareness, leading to increased reporting of such offences. “What is most encouraging is that Inanda – previously known as the country’s rape capital – has also seen a decline in rape cases, registering 20 counts lower than the same period under review,” added Cele.

Despite these advances, Cele voiced concern over the prevalence of rape taking place within the victims’ own homes, marking a troubling dimension of GBVF.

On a positive note, there has been significant progress in the DNA case clearance and elimination of the DNA backlog. Cele proudly announced that the backlog now stands at zero, a stark improvement from the 251,000 cases backlog in the 2021/2022 financial year.

The introduction of the DNA lab in Gqerberha, Eastern Cape, has been a game-changer, increasing DNA processing capabilities. Cele noted, “The efforts of expanding our DNA lab capacity, superbly aided by the facility in Gqerberha, have significantly bolstered our fight against GBVF.”

Cele concluded by emphasizing the vital collaboration between the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Service (SAPS), which has enabled the finalisation of over 40,000 DNA forensic reports, ensuring that GBVF cases receive the priority they demand. “All these efforts have contributed positively to the SAPS’s fight against gender-based violence and femicide cases,” he stated.

Court Crime Arrest
Crime Stats: Decline in Sexual Offences in South Africa 3

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